In these modern times, data breaches and other issues have become common. We know about the Cambridge Analytica data breach, the NHS data breach and the massive Yahoo breach. Now, we have another huge mishap, affecting some of the most vulnerable targets there are.
Within the past week, a report issued by The Times that found that around 28 million children and students’ data has been leaked. The data was being held in the Learning Records Service, a government database. The database has details of student in state school, private schools and colleges across the U.K.
The report worryingly found that 12,000 companies could access these records. It also stated that the access to the records was not officially given, and that a third party company likely was the source of the breach.
Of the third party company, the source has been singled out as a London-based ‘education and training provider’ called ‘Trustopia’. The firm denied this, but a statement by the Department for Education said: ‘[The firm] wrongly provided access to this data and broke their agreement with us. This was completely unacceptable and we have immediately stopped the firm’s access and ended our agreement with them. We will be taking the strongest possible action.’ All in all, it appears to be a shocking example of corporate greed striking at the most vulnerable members of society.
Firm boosted sign-ups by 15%
There are a number of betting firms thought to have gained from the leaks. This included 32Red and BetFair, amongst others. A spokesman for 32Red said: ‘We have zero tolerance on under-age gambling. We are legally required to verify a number of criteria, including the age of people to ensure that they are over the age of 18. The only information 32Red has access to is confirmation or rejection that the person requesting to open an account with us is over the age of 18, and not specific details about that person.’
The GB Group, one of the UKs leading data firms, had access to the data. They said on their website that: ‘The data is accessible in real time, refreshed nightly and updated in line with annual exam results…’ The data is designed to keep track of the academic qualifications and achievements of students.
The company said yesterday that it could check dates of birth and addresses against the Learning Records Service, and the software provided a response on whether there was a matching and genuine identity. It said this did not involve divulging data.
Gambling crisis for the young
This news hits at a time where experts have warned about the health dangers of gambling for the young. A study by Liverpool University for the charity Gamble Aware found that moderate or critical gambling problems triple between the ages of 17 and 20.
A 2019 IPSOS Gambling Commission survey found that generally among young people, conventional betting was down. Despite that, there are a number of dangerous other trends in gambling that are targetted at the young. Features like video game loot boxes, which were banned in Belgium as they were considered a form of gambling, are still emerging.
As technology continues to advance and change at an alarming rate, there is a growing responsibility to understand the changing market and the ways in which corporations try to appeal their services to children.